If you caught last week’s premiere of the ABC dramedy The Unusuals (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET), chances are you’re loving Harold Perrineau’s character, Leo Banks, the member of the NYPD Homicide unit who refuses to take off his bulletproof vest because he just turned 42 – the age his grandfather, father, and uncle were at the time of their deaths. (You’re also loving that he’s partnered with Adam Goldberg’s Eric Delahoy, who’s just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is fine putting himself in positions where he could be killed – though some sort of divine intervention has already saved him twice). “Leo’s paranoia escalates throughout the season, and gets really dark,” Perrineau tells us. “It seems really funny at first, but that’s the great thing about our show: Something that seems really funny sometimes turns out to be, Oh, well, I guess that wasn’t as funny as I thought….” But you know what’s always funny, right? An EW Pop Culture Personality Test.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When do you yell at the TV?
HAROLD PERRINEAU: I yell at the TV often times for sports. I’m not a big fan sports fan, but I do watch mixed martial arts and boxing. The only other time I yell at the TV is when I find out that some show that I love is not gonna be on anymore. I yelled at the TV when Sex and the City went off the air. I know that’s weird, but I did.
You did, really?
I really loved Sex and the City. Gotta tell ya.
This is why we do these tests, to find things like that out. [He laughs] How many TiVos do you have?
Two. Upstairs and downstairs.
What is the worst TiVo mishap you’ve experienced?
I thought I’d taped a huge boxing event, and I didn’t get back home for a week. When I did, I realized that I’d only taped a minute of it. I was like, “Nooooo.” I’d begged everyone not to tell me who won.
Have you ever written a fan letter to anyone? If so, who?
I did one time, but I never sent it. When Halle Berry did Introducing Dorothy Dandridge for HBO [in 1999], I was so moved and impressed that I literally grabbed my book and wrote a huge fan letter. “I’m an actor as well. This is just amazing work.” As I was about to tear it out, I was like, Dude. Come on. You’re gonna send a letter to Halle Berry? Cut it out. She’s gonna think you’re trying to hit on her. And so it’s still sitting in my diary. I come across it every once in a while as I’m reading back. [Laughs]
The piece of pop-culture memorabilia from your childhood you wish you still had?
When I was a teenager, I was a big comic book collector. My brother actually still has a bunch of comic books, but I wish I had all those early Marvel comics, especially as they’re doing the movies now.
What is your geekiest possession?
I would have to say that any time I look at, like, a baseball card with my picture from Lost on it, that’s pretty damn geeky. Any memorabilia piece that I have that has me on it, that’s kind of weird.
What is your position on karaoke?
Not a fan.
Not a fan. I was out with Jeremy Renner [Det. Jason Walsh on The Unusuals], he is great at karaoke. I just don’t have so much fun there. I don’t know what that’s about. And I like being on stage, and I like singing on stage….
Is there a song you will do if pressed?
I’ll do anything from Prince, if you press me. [Sings a line from “Kiss”] Uh, anyway. [Laughs, sings another line] But I usually stay away from it because it’s always terribly embarrassing. You know what it is? This is what it is. I have a bit of a perfectionist streak. I do remember going to karaoke many, many years ago and picking some sort of love song and it being the most boring karaoke time ever. I think that just set me up, like, Oh, this sucks. This is really stupid. Why do people do it? I think somewhere in the back of my head, because I wasn’t great at it, I’ve written the whole thing off.
It’s all about song selection.
It really is. You’ve got to do the right one. You can’t do “Wind Beneath My Wings” and make it work for ya.
The movie you have to watch every time you spot it on cable?
I always have to watch the first Matrix when it’s on. I’m not in it. [He played Link in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.] And Postcards From the Edge.
Last question: The person or band you’ve seen most often in concert?
I haven’t gone to a lot of concerts. I can tell you the last concert I went to, I went and saw Hall & Oates at the Hollywood Bowl with George Lopez. Our kids ride horses together, so we’ve become friendly, and George and [his wife] Ann are fans of Hall & Oates, so the last concert I saw was Hall & Oates. [Laughs] That was somethin’ else. And that’s all I’ll say about that. [Laughs]
More Harold Perrineau and EW Pop Culture Personality Tests:
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Harold Perrineau clarifies the record on his departure from ‘Lost’ (2008)
‘Lost’: Harold Perrineau on coming back (2007)
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